Ph.D. Admissions FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

General Questions

Can I apply for spring admission?
No. The Ph.D. program accepts applications for fall admission only.

When will admissions decisions be made?
We will send admissions decisions in mid-March.

If I am not accepted for the I School's Ph.D. program, will I automatically be considered for admission to the MIMS program instead?
No. Because of the different educational goals of each program, the admissions processes are separate and are not shared between the two programs.

What if I have previously applied to the School of Information?
We keep copies of previously submitted transcripts for two years from the date of your previous application; you will still need to submit any new or updated transcripts. We may have copies of previously submitted GRE or TOEFL scores submitted within the past 5 years; please email to confirm. You will need to retake the exam if your exam date now falls outside the acceptable time frame (5 years for GRE, 18 months for TOEFL/IELTS). We request that applicants submit new letters of recommendation, to reflect the updated status of the application.

Letters of Recommendation

If I submit my letters of recommendation online, do I need to mail hard copies too?
No, the online version of the letter will suffice. You do not need to mail a hard copy of the letter.

If my letter of recommendation is not submitted online, how should they be sent?
The letter of recommendation should include the Letter of Recommendation Cover Sheet and be sent in a sealed envelope. If possible, recommenders should mail their hard-copy letters directly to the School of Information. If that is not possible, you may forward the letters yourself, provided that the letters remain in their original sealed envelopes.

Can letters of recommendation be received after the application deadline?
All supporting application materials (including test scores and letters of recommendation) must be received by the School no later than the announced deadlines.


What if I am currently in school or have not completed my degree?
Please send your current transcripts, in advance of the application deadline. Do not wait for the end of the term or until you have completed your degree. If you are admitted, we will follow up and request your final grades.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

If I choose to include a GRE score with my application, what are the GRE school and department codes?
The school code for UC Berkeley is 4833. The department code for the I School is 0404 (Information Sciences).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Do foreign national applicants who graduated from a university in the U.S. have to take the TOEFL or IELTS?
If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a U.S. university, you do not need to take the TOEFL. Instead, you must submit an official transcript from the U.S. university.

How long are TOEFL or IELTS scores valid for admission purposes?
No more than 18 months may have passed between the TOEFL or IELTS test date and the application deadline. For example, Fall 2021 applicants should not submit test scores taken before June 2019.

Should I include copies of my TOEFL or IELTS scores in my packet of supplemental materials?
No. Test scores should be sent directly from the testing authorities.

What are the TOEFL school and department codes?
The school code for UC Berkeley is 4833. The department code for the I School is 99.

How can IELTS scores be submitted?
IELTS scores can be mailed directly to the I School:

School of Information Admissions
University of California, Berkeley
102 South Hall # 4600
Berkeley, CA 94720-4600

Tuition, Fees, Fellowships and Financial Aid

What are the tuition & fees for Ph.D. students?
Tuition and fees for Ph.D. students ("Graduate Academic" fee schedule, from the Office of the Registrar). All tuition & fees are subject to change.

More information: Registration Fees

What is California residency?
Nonresidents, for purposes of registration, are those who have not been legal residents of California for more than one year immediately before the opening day of the semester for which they register. Legal residence is a combination of physical presence and the intention of making the state one's permanent home, coupled with the relinquishment of legal residence in any other state. International students with F-1 visas cannot be classified as California residents for tuition purposes.

More Information:

Is fellowship support provided by the I School?
Ph.D. students are offered at a minimum one year of fellowship support from the I School. This support covers all registration costs (fees and non-resident tuition) and provides a stipend for living expenses.

Subsequent funding, up until the normative time to degree completion, generally comes from teaching or research positions. Most students are successful in securing these opportunities due to the strength of their academic and professional achievements.

The University awards through competition a limited number of merit-based and diversity fellowships each year. See University Fellowships for further details.

Is financial aid available?
Federal and University loans are available to students through the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, 201 Sproul Hall, University of California, Berkeley; Berkeley, CA 94720-1960. See Financial Aid for further details. U.S. federal financial aid is not available to students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Student Employment

Do students work while attending the program?
A majority of our students work part-time while attending school. The course load is sufficiently heavy that students, particularly during the first year, should not plan a very heavy work schedule. Many of our on-campus students work in on-campus academic appointments (teaching and research assistants).

What are academic appointments?
Ph.D. students are eligible for "academic appointments" (teaching and research assistants).

  • Graduate Student Researcher: Performs research under the direction of a faculty member.
  • Tutor: provides tutorial services to individuals or groups of students under the direct supervision of a regular faculty member. I School faculty sometimes hire qualified graduate student tutors to provide lab assistance for I School courses.
  • Reader: Performs duties related to grading of papers and examinations, but are not assigned teaching duties.
  • Graduate Student Instructor: Serves as an apprentice teacher under the supervision of a regular faculty member, usually in the instruction of lower division undergraduate courses. After advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree, a GSI may with permission teach an upper division graduate course. Graduate students are not permitted to teach other graduate students.

By working in an academic appointment, all or part of the educational costs will be waived depending on the number of hours worked and if the student is a California resident or non-California resident. (Non-resident supplementary tuition is not waived for students by working in an academic appointment.) You would also receive an hourly wage by working in an academic appointment. See Academic Appointments for further details.

International students on an F-1 or J-1 visa who are enrolled in a full-time degree program may hold an academic appointment.

The Graduate Division determines the requirements for qualifications and working conditions for all graduate student appointments. For further details, please visit the Graduate Division's Appointment Office website.

How do students secure academic appointments?
Faculty members will make individual arrangements with qualified and eligible students depending on their needs for research and teaching assistance. Opportunities are highly dependent on faculty need, and it is difficult to predict the number and kinds of jobs that will be available in a given academic year. The following website provides a helpful list of Instructor, Reader, and Tutor positions normally available each year. There is no equivalent website for researcher positions on campus.

Last updated:

June 16, 2020